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Small victories, large defeats.

Updated: 2017-01-20T08:52:57-05:00


Can the Phillies be .500 in 2017? Felske Files Episode 85!


On Episode 85 of The Felske Files, host John Stolnis discusses the Phils' stated goal of reaching .500 this season. Is it possible? Also, in-depth analysis of the Michael Saunders signing and the Hall of Fame inductees with The Ringer's Michael Baumann, and more Phils talk with Crashburn Alley Editor-in-Chief Eric Chesterton.

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Looks like we forgot to mount Pat Burrell, Matt Stairs Hall of Fame campaigns


We really blew this one. Damn it. This is all Curt Schilling’s fault, really. With Hall of Fame season upon us, the baseball world performed its annual implosion. Uppity ESPN writers, crusty, dry-lipped malcontent columnists, and furiously misguided Twitter eggs joined the debate of who should be checked on the ballot, who should be left off altogether, who should be allowed in to Cooperstown but not for a couple of years, which players had been mainlining horse tranquilizers for their careers, and which dementia-riddled voters were covering for accidentally sending in a blank ballot by claiming they had done it on purpose. But mostly, we talked about Schilling, the broken man who spent last night arguing with an unverified account he claimed was Sidney Ponson. The man joyfully expressed his bigotry in his post-playing career, which is assumed to be the reason he won't get to give a speech this summer to a crowd of, in all likelihood, disgusted baseball fans who couldn’t get out of earshot fast enough. His candidacy was a loud, long-winded debate that carried onto this very web site and in the end solved nothing. Schilling was not awarded immortality this year, but the worst part was, local writers (not that I blame them), naturally looking for the "Phillies" angle in all of this, touted him as the closest thing we had to a connection to the whole Battle of Cooperstown this year, and we got to spend weeks seeing him described as "Former Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling." Was there nobody else involved in the mess to whom we could relate; to whom we could look past the high horses and dodge the flying spittle and to see in red pinstripes? Yes. Billy Wagner was also on the ballot. I don’t think anybody was going to make the drive for the ex-Phillies closer Pat Burrell once called a "rat." Wagner doesn’t have any friends in the Delaware Valley because he said the Phillies "ain’t got a chance" at the playoffs in July 2005, which, compared to what I have heard (and said) about the Phillies’ playoff chances of the past is pretty G-rated. I mean I guess you could fault him for using a nonstandard informal contraction, but based on the death threats, Philadelphia’s problems with Wagner never seemed to be a grammatical issue. So both of the guys who received votes and had worn Phillies uniforms in the past didn’t have any supporters in our neck of the woods, leaving us without a "guy" to root for. Except that, as was brought up pretty late in the game, Pat Burrell and Matt Stairs were on the ballot this year, too. There was just so much talk about Schilling that the folk legends/Phillies Wall of Fame members and, in Stairs’ case, current employee, didn’t dominate any of the coverage. There’s still time, though; if we regroup, organize a letter-writing campaign, and No former Phillies make HOF. Schilling (45 percent) and Wagner (10.2 percent) stay on ballot. Burrell and Stairs get no votes. Fall off. — Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) January 18, 2017 CONCLUSION: Cesar Hernandez is a walking paradox. He’s someone capable of doing really good things and could be a very valuable player in 2017. But he’s also one of the most frustrating players on the roster, capable of making a boneheaded play at any time. I don’t know what to make of Hernandez, and I’m not surprised the Phillies and the player haven’t been able to decide on his worth, too. He’s either the worst 4-win player in baseball, or an outstanding young second baseman on the rise who just needs to quit making the dumb mistakes. So yeah, I pity the arbitrator that has to hear this case, if it ever gets that far. [...]

Let’s Talk About the Phillies and the Rays and Trades


Because it’s obviously destiny that these two teams will match up in a trade This past week, the Tampa Bay Rays made two moves that further enhanced the glut of outfielders that is beginning to take over its organization, signing Colby Rasmus and trading for (along with others) Mallex Smith. In the doldrums of winters, we scrounge for any kind of baseball news that will whet our appetite for when the real thing kicks off in just over a month. So, when fans see these types of deals, they naturally begin to try and connect some dots that they feel exist for their favorite team. What are these dots? Let’s put them out there: Tampa Bay has multiple outfielders already on the roster Andy MacPhail publicly says the team is looking for another bat, preferably left handed Tampa Bay signs Rasmus Tampa Bay trades for Smith Phillies take advantage of this depth to acquire a lefthanded outfielder to fill a possible platoon that could exist in right field Obviously, I put that last one in italics because it hasn’t happened yet remains a pipe dream, but still fans continue to ponder what might be. It’s easy to see why they would dream too. The teams, on paper, match up pretty well in one regard. The Rays have outfielders and the Phillies, according to one of the guys in charge of making baseball decisions, need another one. Fans have nothing better to do, so they sit and come up with theoretical deals that, in their minds, work for both teams. So, should the Phillies be looking south for another addition? Again, on paper, a deal between the teams does make some sense. When the signing and trade were announced, multiple outlets discussed how puzzling the deal was since Tampa already had a stable of capable outfielders. According to, their depth chart had Corey Dickerson in left field, Kevin Kiermaier in center field, and Steven Souza in right. Behind them were Mikie Mahtook to platoon with Dickerson, Nick Franklin able to play one of the corners in a pinch and any number of other replacement level players in the minors just a tweaked hamstring away. To add two more capable outfielders doesn’t make a whole lot of sense unless there was another transaction in the offing. Yet, when you look a little deeper, there doesn’t seem to be a way to make a deal that would ultimately be smart for either team. When you look for someone to plunder from the Rays’ roster, you can immediately rule out Kiermaier, whose value to a small market team is just too great to give up. Souza can also be stricken from the possibilities simply because he bats right handed. The team just spent real money on Rasmus, so that tosses him out too. That really only leaves Corey Dickerson. He fits several of the criteria the team is looking for. Corner outfielder? Yup. Left handed? Uh huh!Under control for more than one season? You betcha!Productive? Well..... Dickerson’s 2016 was actually pretty good in its most basic form - .245/.293/.469 with 24 home runs and 70 runs batted in. Against left handers, he was ghastly (.241/.274/.315, 61 tOPS+) but against right handers, he was much more effective (.247/.297/.510, 110 tOPS+). He’d fulfill everything the team needs as a left handed portion of a platoon in right field. His glove is slightly above average (2 runs saved in left field in 2016), so he won’t be a liability in the outfield either. He’ll hit for power, but don’t ask him to draw a walk. Altogether, he makes for a more likely target. But what would he cost the Phillies in terms of players? This is where it gets dicey. A quick scan of the roster from someone who does not follow them as closely as a person more acquainted with the group might show they need relievers, perhaps another starter, or maybe a younger catcher in case Wilson Ramos isn’t able to come back to full strength following surgery on his knee. Do you really want to trade one of the assets the team has for someone who is about to become a really expensive platoon player? Remember, in spit[...]